Following his honorable discharge from the United States Army, Dustin Blaylock came to the WIOA program because he had been unable to find suitable employment opportunities. He was not only struggling to meet his monthly living expenses, but his employment potential was limited by his current skills. Through the WIOA program, Dustin connected with a Career Planner to find a path forward. The Career Planner worked with Dustin by assessing his skills and abilities, exploring different career pathways, and with job search assistance. During their meeting, Dustin expressed interest in developing skills for a marketable career to enhance his employment potential. After further discussion, he set the goal of preparing for a career as a Registered Nurse.
In the fall of 2018, Dustin began his journey towards becoming an RN through KCC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program. He excelled in his program and graduated in May of 2020. Shortly thereafter, Dustin applied for and was offered an RN position at a local hospital. Dustin did not let his limitations define him. With support and assistance from the WIOA program, Dustin was able to achieve both his educational and professional goals. Now, Dustin continues his service to our country, just in a different uniform.
In late 2015, Jessica left a retail position she had held for several years in order to seek out better opportunities for herself and her two boys. She wanted a marketable career that would provide enhanced earning potential but lacked the formal skills, education, and certifications needed for professional employment. In August of 2016, Jessica connected with the WIOA program and received a career consultation that evaluated her skills, interests, work preferences, and salary needs. Through those assessments, Jessica decided that a brighter future for her meant pursuing a degree as a Radiologic Technician. However, she needed additional funds to offset the cost of training needed to achieve her goals.
Her journey to self-sufficiency wasn’t always an easy one. Jessica missed passing her Radiography program final by just 1%. Even though that was a setback that could have deterred her from obtaining her degree, Jessica leaned into the assistance offered by the WIOA program to help pay for her classes, supplies, and transportation costs, as well as encouragement from her professors to keep going. She did not quit on her dream for a better life for her and her boys. Finally, in May of 2020, after four years of hard work and dedication, her persistence paid off. She graduated with her degree in Radiography and on June 1st passed her boards. She emailed to let us know her good news saying, “I am now a Radiology Technician! I thank you so much for all you and the WIOA program have done for me. Now to just find a job!”
Just a few short months later, Jessica found a job at a hospital working as a radiologic technician. She persevered, and with the help of the WIOA program, achieved that bright future for her family.
Sierra heard about the Livingston Workforce Services from a friend. She was pursuing the Radiography field and looking for scholarship opportunities since she only worked part time on the weekends as a waitress. She had just been accepted into the program at the local college, but she was also interested in getting her foot in the door with some internship opportunities in the radiography field. Sierra was then placed in a “work experience” in the radiology department at OSF. She worked there six months and used her experience to help her progress through the program. She graduated with her Radiography degree and soon passed her certification exam. She now works in the radiology department at the hospital closest to her home.
John was a high school student when he was referred to the Livingston Workforce Services. He was looking to obtain a job working at his high school’s cafeteria, so that he could gain some valuable life skills. The remarks from his supervisor on his evaluation regarding his progress on the program was substantial; mostly exceeds expectations. After the completion of his work experience, his school hired him on as a cafeteria assistant where he continues to work while attending high school. He is expected to graduate in 2022 after turning 21 years of age and hopes to continue his employment beyond.
Ryan, a former client of the Livingston Workforce Services, returned looking for additional help to obtain his BSN. He had completed his CNA a few years earlier and decided that the nursing field was where he wanted to be. Since he was working very little, he knew that he would have trouble affording his tuition payments and valued what the program had already done for him. In two short years, he earned his BSN and is now working at the St. Francis Medical Center making over 10 times that of his pre-employment wages.
As a single mom working as a CNA, Katie knew she wanted to better herself by pursuing the RN career. She had lots of experience working in a nursing home, so she knew she could do it. Once she was accepted into a nursing program, she contacted the Livingston Workforce Services to see how they could help with funding. She worked 2 “as needed” part time jobs and was looking to supplement her tuition bill. She progressed easily through the first year of the program and obtained her LPN. She continued on further, receiving her RN, and eventually her BSN, while increasing her workload and becoming employed, eventually full time by a local hospital.
Samantha had been accepted into the nursing program, but was worried about how she was going to pay for her classes. She worked part time at a grocery store, but did not make the livable wage that becoming a nurse could offer her. She diligently achieved every career goal she set for herself, starting with her RN. She then quickly earned her BSN while working full time as a RN at a hospital. She is now self-sufficient.
Mackenzie contacted the Livingston Workforce Services after being referred to the program by a friend. She was just entering a rigorous nursing program and as a result was only working part time. She was in need of a scholarship as well as transportation assistance in order to help her accomplish her goal of obtaining her RN. Mackenzie excelled in her program and graduated on time, earning her RN. She initially began working as an LPN at a local nursing home but eventually moved on to an RN position at a hospital, making over double what she did when she entered the program. She is now pursuing her BSN.
After I was finished with school, I was told about the RTAA program by my Caseworker. This program helped me get back in the Workforce without having to take the highest paying job and it allowed me the opportunity to work in the field I went to school for. I started working in restaurant maintenance and really liked what I was doing. My Caseworker walked me through all the paperwork, which was very simple to get through with not a lot of paperwork to keep it going. "I lost the best job I ever had and the programs offered made it easy and affordable for me to get back into the workforce in a field I had always wanted to work in." Tyisha, my caseworker made the two-year transition easy for me and I don't believe I would have made it through without her. When I started I thought it would be a long journey, but the time was gone before I knew it and I am now working a job that I enjoy doing. Thanks to all the people who made it possible!
Ryan Dunn is a single dad of two boys that receives SNAP benefits. He had been working for the Department of Rehabilitation for 7 years as a CNA/home health aide when he decided to take the leap and begin classes to earn his Licensed Practical Nursing degree. He enrolled in classes at Capital Area School of Practical Nursing beginning in the fall 2018. Due to their fast track option he was able to graduate within 9 months in June 2019. He is employed at The Point as well as Bright Star making $21 and $28 per hour as an LPN.